TV Review: The Flash - Season 1 Episode 18 "All Star Team Up"
EPISODE 18: "All Star Team Up"
SYNOPSIS: This week, Ray Palmer and Felicity Smoak visit Central City to enlist Team Flash's help with the Atom suit. Meanwhile, a new villain known as the Bug-Eyed Bandit takes revenge on former colleagues with her swarm of robotic bees. Time for an Atom and Flash team up!
RECAP (Beware of spoilers!):
After a week-long hiatus, we’re back with six new episodes of THE FLASH to finish out an amazing first season. On a positive note, the episode was really fun. It was great to see Ray and Felicity interact with Team Flash. And not only that, there were other group scenes that allowed characters to interact in ways we haven't seen very often. The episode also gave so many hilarious quotes (especially the bee puns). And again, the CGI, especially in the scenes with Ray in his Atom suit, was phenomenal. It’s amazing what top-notch effects the VFX team creates for a television show.
But even with the special effects and Felicity’s always-welcomed guest appearance, “All Star Team Up” was a bit of a step down from the last several, incredibly strong episodes in the series. The villainess, played by THE WALKING DEAD's Emily Kinney, was underused. I think she was only in maybe four minutes of the episode altogether. I’m also completely bored by the Iris/Eddie relationship storyline. Since I don’t care whether they are together or not, it doesn’t really matter to me that they are on the outs. The only thing to be concerned about is that Eddie may not be able to handle the pressure of Barry’s secret much longer, and will decide to tell Iris himself. But would that really be such a bad thing? The last time Iris found out, it went pretty well for Barry, so it’s hard to worry about that aspect either. Not to mention, as was discussed on tonight's episode, pretty much everyone else on the show knows Barry's secret, even a stranger (Ray). Stop the madness already, Barry and Joe! You're only making it harder on yourselves (and annoying for us at home).
And was anyone else confused about the timing of this episode with the last episode of ARROW? I’m assuming “All Star Team Up” took place before the events of episode 18 ("Public Enemy"), since there was no mention of Roy’s incarceration or Ray's hospitalization, and Felicity still seemed enamored by Ray. At one point she even called him “Barry in Oliver’s body”. However, in the most recent episode of ARROW, Felicity was reluctant to tell Ray she loved him. I guess this episode of THE FLASH happened sometime after Oliver damaged Ray’s power source in episode 17?
“All Star Team Up” begins by showing what an all star Barry is in his everyday crime-fighting duties for Central City. With the help of Joe and Eddie, Barry is able to nab three groups of robbers in one night. But at the same time, a young woman from the Robotics Department at Hudson University falls victim to a swarm of bees that attack her by flying through the air vents in her car. Thanks for giving me something else to have an irrational fear about, FLASH writers! Barry and the Central City forensic department are called to the scene to figure out her cause of death.
Although it would be faster to take the victim’s blood back to S.T.A.R. Labs for testing, Barry doesn’t feel comfortable being there due to his belief that Dr. Wells is the Reverse Flash. However, Joe convinces Barry to suck it up and not be obvious about his suspicions or tell Caitlin and Cisco his theory. After all, that would create more people who could potentially tip-off Dr. Wells. Not to mention, maybe they aren’t as trustworthy as they seem?
Back at the lab, the team discovers that the victim died from apitoxin poisoning, which is the venom in honeybee stings. Only, no stingers were left in her body and the level of toxicity in her blood was a lot higher than expected. This means there must be something different about these bees. Is a metahuman involved? At that moment, Felicity Smoak walks in and asks the team to join her outside. Always the showman, Ray Palmer makes a grand entrance in his Atom suit. As it turns out, Felicity told Ray about Barry’s secret identity. And since the team did such a great job with The Flash’s suit, Ray wants their help with his own. Although Barry is leery to help out, what with the lingering bee infestation and his jealousy over Felicity’s new relationship with Ray, Cisco agrees to take the project on himself.
To put Barry in a better mood, Felicity thinks it would be a good idea to invite him to dinner with her and Ray and Iris and Eddie. Fifth-wheeling always brightens any day! But before they can go to dinner, Barry gets word that there is another bee attack in progress and he races to the scene. Unfortunately, he is too late, and the victim, another robotics expert, is already dead. Little does Barry know, the bees are still inside the victim and like in my (and apparently Cisco’s) worst nightmare, they come out of his mouth to attack Barry. Barry asks Cisco for help finding an exit from the building, but at that same time, Cisco begins to have visions of the reverse timeline in which Dr. Wells killed him and admitted to being the Reverse Flash. A distracted Cisco gives Barry the wrong information, leaving him trapped in the building and at the mercy of the bee stings.
Conveniently, Cisco had a defibrillator installed in The Flash suit, so when the bee venom induces a heart attack, he is able to virtually shock Barry back to life. But this mistake on Cisco’s part adds to Barry’s suspicions that he may not be able to trust his own friends. Was Cisco trying to get him killed? After all, he once trusted and respected Dr. Wells, so his judgment is very off.
A super-healed Barry joins his friends for an awkward dinner, but the real drama has less to do with Barry and more to do with Iris and Eddie. Iris uses the dinner as a way to announce her issues with Eddie’s communication skills. She thinks he has been hiding something from her and wants to know what it is. Of course, we know he’s being shady because he’s hiding Barry’s secret (as is everyone else at the table). Iris leaves in a huff, and at that same time Barry gets word that he’s needed back at the Lab. One of those pesky bees was hiding in Barry’s suit and attacked Caitlin, Cisco and Dr. Wells. But just as Dr. Wells is about to spill the beans and get out of his wheelchair to destroy the bee with his Reverse Flash powers, Barry steps in and saves the day, capturing the bee in a test tube.
After some research, the team finds out the bee is actually a robot, and its creator, or queen bee, is Brie Larvin (Kinney), aka The Bug-Eyed Bandit. She is using her bees to take revenge on former colleagues. Cisco and Felicity track the signal from the bee and discover its swarm is on the way to attack its next victim, the director of Mercury Labs and Larvin’s former boss, Dr. Christina McGee (Amanda Pays). McGee fired Larvin after it was discovered that she was weaponizing the miniature robots, as opposed to using them for agricultural purposes. Knowing Barry can’t risk another encounter with the bees, especially since his defibrillator is broken, Ray volunteers to take his newly fixed Atom suit on a joyride. He will distract the bees and protect Dr. McGee, while Barry takes out Larvin.
When Ray arrives at Mercury Labs, Felicity is able to hack into the bees’ signal, and targets them at Ray instead of at Dr. McGee. Apparently the swarm of bees (and Ray’s suit) aren’t waterproof, so he flies into the water to deactivate them, which damages his suit as well. Meanwhile, Barry finds Larvin’s “hive” and tries to arrest her. But, she has a reserve swarm of bees there for protection. Thankfully, Barry has one of the world's best hackers in his corner, and Felicity is able to hack into the bees’ operating system and deactivate them. Off to Iron Heights you go, Larvin.
Dr. McGee visits Barry in his personal lab to thank him for saving her. But before she leaves, Barry asks why she and Dr. Wells have such a testy relationship. She tells Barry that they were once great friends, but after his wife died, he became a completely different person. Another clue to add to Barry’s Dr. Wells = Reverse Flash wall.
The episode ends with Ray recognizing a way to use the technology in the robotic bee to power his suit. He had been trying to create a bigger power source, but maybe he just needed a more efficient, smaller source like in the bee. Iris also gives a final ultimatum to Eddie that if he wants their relationship to continue, he needs to be more open with her and tell her everything that is going on (or become a better actor).
STINGER (pun intended this week): Listening to advice from Felicity, Barry decides he can trust Caitlin and Cisco. So, he brings them to his lab, where he and Joe explain their theory about Dr. Wells being the Reverse Flash. At first, Caitlin doesn’t believe it, but when Cisco tells the group about his visions of the other timeline, including his death at the hands of Dr. Wells/Reverse Flash, it all starts to become clear.
DC UNIVERSE EASTER EGGS: “Is that a bird? It’s a plane. It’s my boyfriend.” This is a variation of the classic quote about Superman, “It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Superman!” And, of course, this is the way Brandon Routh’s character is introduced to the team. He played Superman in the 2006 film SUPERMAN RETURNS.
COOL ALTERNATE USE OF "THE FLASH" POWERS: After it appears that the bees are dead, another hidden bee emerges and is on the way to attack Caitlin, but Cisco steps in and takes the sting himself, which causes an immediate heart attack. Barry is able to use his powers to shock Cisco’s heart back into rhythm.
FAVORITE QUOTE: “Bees. Why does it have to be bees?” I loved this fedora tip to the famous Indiana Jones quote, “Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?”